One of my clients asked me to call her Sister and talk her through how to get the most out of training on a rowing machine. I thought, I can kill two birds with one stone here… I`ll post a blog that may touch the hearts of all Redgrave wannabes.

For Audra and her Sister, here goes.

The rowing machine is an excellent choice for getting a great cardio workout while working the entire body. I love it and include regularly in my workouts when I want a good cardio vascular workout but want to give my joints a break from the pavement.

You work the legs, arms and core while building endurance in the heart and lungs. Many people shy away from rowing machines at the gym, unsure of how to use them or how get a good workout. Don`t!

Just some rowing machine benefits include:

•It’s a no-impact exercise, which is easy on the joints and great cross-training for other activities

 •It works the entire body and can promote weight loss as well as a leaner and considerably firmer body.

Online rowing technique clip

If you are training specifically for weight loss..consider this..

  • For a given intensity level, the longer you row, the more calories you will burn.
  • For a given elapsed time, the harder you row, the more calories you will burn.

Try not to see your rowing workouts as a block of time..think about how you can break up your time on the rower, perhaps by rowing with the music?

  • Add variety. Mix up the length of your workouts to give yourself something to look forward to.
  • Take breaks. Feel free to stand up and stretch in between sessions.
  • Try new workouts. Be creative in challenging yourself! Change the display.
  • Rotate through different displays in the Performance Monitor to give yourself a new perspective.
  • Make a goal. Record your meters to see your progress.

Sustaining intensity is both exhausting and exhilarating. Here are some strategies to build up your workouts:

  • Increase your distance by about 25% each week. Drastic increases in meters can lead to injury and fatigue.
  • Rest. Your body needs more time to recover with increased activity. Recovery enables the body to repair itself and grow stronger.

Use the Performance Monitor to gauge your intensity. Regardless of your choice of units, watch the middle display.

  • If you row in watts: higher intensity = higher number of watts.
  • If you row in calories: higher intensity = higher number of calories.
  • If you row in pace (time/500m): higher intensity = lower number (less time needed to go 500 meters).

To row at a higher intensity, you need to incorporate strokes at a higher intensity until your body learns to sustain this level of exertion. You do not need to change the damper setting or strokes per minute (spm) to increase your intensity: the harder you pull, the more resistance you will feel. If you row intensely you will get an intense workout; if you row easily, you will get an easier workout. 

  • Row at a steady sustainable pace for five minutes. Alternate one minute of intensity with one minute of steady rowing for five intervals.
  • Take Power Tens or Power Twenties: Every two minutes, or every 500 meters, take 10 or 20 strokes at a higher intensity, then return to your steady pace.

So give all this a try and don`t walk past the rowing machine the next time you are in the gym, hop on and strap in.

Train hard

We are not here for a hair cut people!

Rachel Benton

Personal Training, Bedford UK

[email protected]

Image by Thatsfit.